Meet Luxembourg's first-ever World Archery Championship medallists

Gilles Seywert and Mariya Shkolna

A police officer and a shop owner from Luxembourg are not your usual world medallists, but Mariya Shkolna and Gilles Seywert are out to prove people wrong.

The pair earned their country’s first-ever World Archery Championships medal with compound mixed team bronze in Berlin.

The pair edged past neighbours the Netherlands, whose team comprised ‘Mister Perfect’ Mike Schloesser and partner Sanne de Laat, the same team that earned European Games silver four years ago.

Two-time individual world medallist Schloesser had already earned bronze in the men’s team event earlier on Friday but could not repeat the feat as the Luxembourg duo dropped just a single point on the final end to clinch victory despite trailing for the first three ends.

And Shkolna, who also boasts a team medal representing Ukraine at the 2015 World Archery Championships in Copenhagen, was overcome by what she had achieved.

Gilles Seywert and Mariya Shkolna

“It is a lot of emotions, my hands are still shaking,” she said. “It is a great feeling, to play a great match and to win it.”

“Netherlands shot amazingly and we did everything we need to and fate helped us win that match.”

“We had a pretty good season for Luxembourg mixed team. It is quite a big achievement. Luxembourg is a small country, we don’t have that many athletes. There are a few of us having great results, that is already a lot.”

“We are not professional athletes, we train after work so it is great to accomplish something like this.”

Gilles Seywert

Shkolna is the owner of archery shop LuxArc back home while Seywert’s time is dominated by his time in the police.

It means archery must take a back seat for much of the year, with his day job even hampering preparations for Berlin.

And victory against all the odds makes the bronze medal even sweeter.

“It is amazing,” said Seywert. “We won a few medals this year but to come here to the world championships, to win the bronze medal; I still can’t believe it.”

“Last week I shot maybe 60 arrows in practice because I had to work, so there is not much time to shoot.”

“It is not like I am a police officer and I can train whenever I want, I am doing normal police work around 40-60 hours a week and then beside that I am trying to do my dog walking, archery, and climbing – all the stuff that is pleasant in life.”

Mariya Shkolna

Having qualified as 11th seeds, the pair first got past an Austrian team including 2021 individual men’s world champion Nico Wiener before beating sixth seeds Mexico and Italy to guarantee a spot on the finals stage.

A narrow defeat to Colombia set up a bronze medal match against lowland neighbours Netherlands, and Seywert admitted ending up on the podium was well beyond their expectations.

“We have been shooting good in mixed team at European Grand Prix but this is a whole different thing,” he said. “Even getting through to the semi-final was amazing.”

“Losing in the bronze medal match is always the worst feeling, but even if it did we would have been fourth in the world – that’s still amazing.”

“Shooting against another European team, Mike shoots amazing and Sanne was also shooting great. It is amazing to stand here alongside all these other great archers.”

“It wasn’t the first time shooting against Mike, but I have nothing to lose shooting against him.

“We have known each other for a long time, he is a great guy. If I shoot against him, it is not against him but against myself in the match.”